Animal Care Trust: Succour for wounded tails

Madhanagopal aka Madhan is one of the six members of Animal Care Trust based in Rajapalayam.

Published: 15th January 2023 05:20 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th January 2023 04:10 PM   |  A+A-

Members of Animal Care Trust treat an injured elephant; (inset) founder Selvram Raja | Express

Express News Service

VIRUDHUNAGAR: Madhanagopal was walking through a hazily-lit forest path when he noticed a cute little spotted deer at his heels. He quickly recognised its gleaming eyes. It’s the fawn he rescued from farmland in Rajapalayam and returned to the forest a few days ago. Madhanagopal aka Madhan is one of the six members of Animal Care Trust based in Rajapalayam.

Founded by 49-year-old Selvaram Raja from Rajapalayam in 2016, the group is a haven for wounded or lost wild animals, where they get treated, cared for and equipped for their lives in the wildness of nature.

Selvaram Raja, who used to conduct environmental awareness programmes at schools and colleges, was struck with the idea of the trust when he realised the immensity of the wild animals’ death toll in his area due to the lack of proper treatment. He shared the thought with his friends and acquaintances, which finally led to the formation of the trust.

“With the help of the forest department, we have been carrying out the rescue mission of wild animals for the past six years, mainly in Srivilliputhur and Rajapalayam forest areas. So far, the trust has rehabilitated around 1,300 wild animals and countless strays,” he says.

However, animal rescue comes with a fair share of challenges, which are sometimes unforgettable. Sharing one such experience, Raja said, “Once, we rescued around ten infant painted storks that fell from their nest as the tree was cut down. But then arises the problem of feeding them, as the birds will only consume fish. Being in the middle of summer, we couldn’t find fish in the ponds in our area. So, we had to put a lot of effort in bringing fish for the birds from other areas.”

Another onerous incident happened when the team rescued an infant jungle cat abandoned by its mother. “When we rescued the infant cat, it could hardly open its eyes. We took care of it for three months, trained it to hunt in the wild and sent it back to the forest,” Raja remembers with contentment.

If the rescued animals are infants, the team will look after them for at least three months before they are released into the wild. “In order to maintain the wild nature of the animals, not more than two people will take care of the animal when they are under treatment. Once released in the forest, the animal will be monitored for a day to make sure that they get to socialise with its troop,” Raja says.The team also took care of a captive elephant for almost five years. The elephant was brought from Palani

to treat its foot rot disease. However, while checking the papers, it was found that the elephant had been kept illegally by the owner. “Without any delay, we informed the officials, and subsequently, a case was registered against him,” Raja said.

Commenting on the deeds of Animal Care Trust, Srivilliputhur forest range officer M Karthick said the group is taking good care of all rescued animals and even provides medicines. “They have been handling snake rescues, which is very helpful for us. While we take care of around 75% of the cases in the region, some cases would need immediate attention, and the trust extends their support to us,” he says.


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